Chaos and Its Influence on Children's Development
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
Historically, developmental psychologists have tended to focus on the effects of understimulation and certain types of deprivation on child development. More recently researchers have shifted their attention to the deleterious effects of overstimulation or "chaos" in children's environment.
Chaos refers to physical and social settings characterized by crowding, noise, unpredictability or a lack of routines, and instability or unplanned changes. This book is an important first step in exploring how, why, and at what level, chaos at the familial and societal level affects children.
The contributors to the volume honor the work of Urie Bronfenbrenner, whose bioecological theory of human development provides a rich conceptual basis for understanding the impact of environmental chaos. The theory permits study at both what Bronfenbrenner called the "microsystem" level (the family, school and daycare), as well as at higher-order levels that include parents' work environments, the child's local neighborhood, and his or her cultural milieu. Within this framework, the role of individual characteristics and other moderating and mediating mechanisms can be fruitfully explored, as well as how chaos relates to poverty and culture. These elements are explored both as independent influences and collective, interrelated influences.
The topics explored in this book will be thought-provoking for developmental scientists interested in the study of environmental contributions to development, as well as practitioners and policy makers interested in promoting children's healthy development.
- Chaos in Context
—Theodore D. Wachs and Gary W. Evans
- Chaos and the Diverging Fortunes of American Children: A Historical Perspective
—Daniel T. Lichter and Elaine Wethington
II. Chaos at the Microsystem Level
- Physical and Psychosocial Turmoil in the Home and Cognitive Development
—Brian P. Ackerman and Eleanor D. Brown
- The Dynamics of Family Chaos and Its Relation to Children's Socioemotional Well-Being
—Barbara H. Fiese and Marcia A. Winter
- Child-Care Chaos and Child Development
- Chaos Outside the Home: The School Environment
—Lorraine E. Maxwell
- Viewing Microsystem Chaos Through a Bronfenbrenner Bioecological Lens
—Theodore D. Wachs
- The Role of Temporal and Spatial Instability in Child Development
III. Chaos at the Mesosystem Level
- From Home to Day Care: Chaos in the Family/Child-Care Mesosystem
—Robert H. Bradley
- Disorder, Turbulence, and Resources in Children's Homes and Neighborhoods
—Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Anna D. Johnson, and Tama Leventhal
IV. Chaos at the Exosystem Level
- Neighborhood Chaos and Children's Development: Questions and Contradictions
—James R. Dunn, Nicole J. Schaefer-McDaniel, and Jason T. Ramsay
- Parent Employment and Chaos in the Family
—Rena Repetti and Shu-wen Wang
V. Chaos at the Macrosystem Level
- Well-Being, Chaos, and Culture: Sustaining a Meaningful Daily Routine
—Thomas S. Weisner
- Chaos and the Macrosetting: The Role of Poverty and Socioeconomic Status
—Gary W. Evans, John Eckenrode, and Lyscha A. Marcynyszyn
- An Ecological Framework for the Refugee Experience: What Is the Impact on Child Development?
—Stuart L. Lustig
- Dynamic Developmental Systems: Chaos and Order
About the Editors
Gary W. Evans, PhD, Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Ecology in the Departments of Design and Environmental Analysis and of Human Development at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, studies how the physical environment affects human health and well-being among children. His specific areas of expertise include childhood poverty, environmental stress, and children's environments. He holds a doctorate in environmental psychology with postdoctoral training in psychoneuroendocrinology and human development.
Dr. Evans is the author of 5 books and over 300 scholarly articles and book chapters. Evans is a member of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health; the Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the National Academy of Sciences; and the Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has been awarded two Fulbright Research Fellowships and is the recipient of a Senior National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health.
Theodore D. Wachs, PhD, is professor of psychological sciences at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He received his doctorate in psychology from George Peabody College in 1968. In 1995–1996 he was a Golestan Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and in 2003 he was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar at the Centre for International Child Health, University of London, London, England. Currently, he is a member of the editorial boards of the International Journal of Behavioral Development and the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.
His research focuses on the role of chaotic family environments on development, micronutrient deficiencies in infancy and cognitive and socioemotional development, and temperament in infancy and childhood. In addition to his research in the United States, he has also been involved in research projects in Egypt, Jamaica, and Peru. He has authored or coedited 8 books, numerous book chapters, and over 90 research and review articles in scientific and professional journals.